There are no REPUBLICANS TO BLAME FOR THIS ONE.
It was in the midst of the 2000 election between Gore and Bush that my 70 plus year old father first speculated to me that he thought the election, through the electoral college, was likely to produce a split result, with one candidate winning the popular vote and the other the presidency. I laughed it off as a typical Middle Eastern conspiracy theory (Uncle Napoleon-ish, if you know what I mean) and I explained that such an event had been very rare in American Presidential history (once or twice) and assured him that that would never happen again in this modern era of politics. He in turn mocked the absolution of my faith in democracy, or at least what he thought was the shortcomings of the electoral college in this particular democracy.
I don’t have to tell you of my surprise and dismay of the results of that election. As a lawyer, an advocate of democracy, and an Iranian-American who thought he had seen democracy at work here, and the lack of democratic principals in Iran, I had a purist view of the American system of governance and a strong faith in the Constitution, and would you believe it, the Supreme Court. I had read most of what the Justices on the Supreme Court had written, and believed that at least someone like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor or Justice Antony Kennedy could not cast a political vote.
During this time, and for a while after, I was frequently doing political commentary on Television and Satellites that reached around the globe. Every time that I did my “defense of democracy” routine, I got a call-in from someone who rubbed my nose into a political system that allowed for the guy with 500,000 less votes to become president. “How could [I] be preaching such a system as ‘democracy’? Does not ‘indirect democracy’ really mean ‘undemocratic’?” I could not disagree.
I was truly lost and angry. It was easy to be angry because we had the Republicans to be angry with. They had created a mob in Florida to stop counting the votes, and Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents had anointed their candidate for President in the worst Supreme Court decision, maybe in history. Any further calls for the reform of the electoral college into a direct democracy had been knocked down by Republican-dominated small States that opposed the move based on the mistaken belief that they have more clout under the current system. Calls for change produced the weakest of election reform laws by the Republican- controlled Congress, making the possibility of fundamental reform even that much more difficult. So we had our favorite target: THE REPUBLICANS.
Now fast forward to the 2008 election between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, emphasis on Democratic. The first shocker was Nevada. Hillary won Nevada with the most votes, but Obama won more delegates in a Caucus. How was that possible. Is that not what we Democrats cried about in Florida? Is that not what we called undemocratic, antiquated, “white old men” policies? [The electoral college mainly being the product of George Washington who did not trust the concept of “one man one vote” and at that time thought he would not win in that kind system.
And what in the world is a “Caucus”anyway? Most people have never been to a Caucus and really don’t understand it. But what is glaringly clear is that a Caucus suppresses votes by some 100 to 1, meaning that 99 out of 100 likely voters do not show up for a caucus, as opposed to a primary. The best example is Texas, which has both. In the primary, 2.9 million Democrats voted compared to the Caucus that drew about 40,000 votes. And in case you missed it the first time, let me repeat it: Texas had both a caucus and a primary, so you can vote twice. What a joke. They might as well have thrown in a Texas-style gun duel, and crowned the survivor, to top it all off. Voting twice? Is that democratic? Is it constitutional?
The ultimate outrage of this circus is that there are NO REPUBLICANS TO BLAME. We have done this one entirely to ourselves. The system of electing, using the term loosely, a nominee for the Democratic party is entirely produced by Democrats. And if we allow for it to remain or continue, shame on us. But there is more than just shame, since shame these days seems to be an easy commodity to trade for forgiveness (i.e. Eliot Spitzer). If we do not institute fundamental reform of our primary election process, we will lose the legitimacy of fighting for true election reform, the dismantling of the electoral college, and instituting true Democracy and the concept of one man one vote.
This is not lost to the eyes of the world. To say that we have lost some of our sheen on the world stage under Bush is an understatement. But we have an extraordinary amount of goodwill in our reserves. Indeed, it may not be us at all. It may be that the world’s hopes and aspirations and the need for a role model will place us in a position to redeem ourselves. But when we Democrats produce a candidate to replace the disasters of George W. Bush, when the next president asks the world to disregard the current presidency, will she or he do it having advanced to the general election by having the so-called “Super Delegates” overrule either the majority of the delegate count or the majority of the popular votes? Or even worst, will Super Delegates overrule both the delegate counts and the popular votes? Will we have a convincing argument for the candidate that lost the popular vote but won the delegate count or vice versa?
What is a “SUPER” delegate? Is that not just a round-about way of saying that our vote does not count as much as theirs? They do get to vote twice; once in the election and again as party leaders. Since when does the Democratic party believe that the average man needs protection from him or herself? Does that not sound like the argument that White South-Africa made against Black rule, or every petty dictator that thought they knew best what was good for the people? Gandhi said that freedom meant nothing unless one was free to make mistakes; and I, for one, choose freedom.
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